The Porter County
Commissioners Tuesday gave their approval 3-0 on an agreement with Motorola
for the implementation and maintenance of upgrades to the Enhanced 911
communications system for roughly $6 million.
The upgrades, as
first discussed openly at the Commissioner’s Aug. 23 meeting, are to allow
County 911 Center and all fire and police in Porter County to use an 800
megahertz (MHz) spectrum radio system that other counties in the state are
Integrated Public Safety Commission for ten years has led the charge in
creating an inter-operable system for police, fire departments and EMS on
local levels, said its Field Services Director John Ashter.
The agreement is
for $4,358,564 in yearly increments over ten years starting in 2018. The
first year will be about $470,000 and no interest will be owed the first
three years. An interest rate of 3.2 percent will be paid in the years
following, said County Attorney Scott McClure.
County will pay about $75,000 per year for twenty years of maintenance costs
in the contract, McClure said, or $1.55 million total, putting the final
costs at over $6 million.
The contract will
be primarily for the infrastructure needed for Porter County to be
inter-operable with the state system, connecting with surrounding counties.
There will be five 200 ft. monopole towers in the county that will carry the
President John Evans, R-North, said the costs do not cover radio equipment
and that individual fire departments and police will be responsible for
contacting their municipal boards to come up with the funding for those in
the year's time it takes to get the system set up. He said Portage Fire
Chief Tom Pfeiffer is working on getting grants to aid the fire stations.
were told by Motorola in August the costs of the upgrades would be close to
$9.8 million total. Last month, Motorola was said by Evans to offer a
contract at $9 million should the County sign on by the end of the year. He
asked fellow commissioners Jeff Good, R-Center, and Laura Shurr Blaney,
D-South, for their support but both stated they felt more time was needed to
consider the contract with respect to how the County and the municipalities
could support it.
meeting, E-911 Communications Director C.J. Wittmer said he had met with Jay
Bura, Motorola’s account manager for Northern Indiana, and had further
discussions. The department has talked about the upgrades for about a year
and a half, Wittmer said.
Burla was present
Tuesday with the new contract.
“We know we need to
do the infrastructure for 911 immediately if we want to get a deal by the
end of the year,” Evans said.
Evans said there is
no request for bids with the contract because Motorola is the only
telecommunication provider that the State has authorized for its
requirements. The County will be putting out a Request for Proposals on new
radio equipment for its departments that will use them, he said.
Good said one of
the towers will be put in near the County’s Highway Garage south of
Valparaiso on Ind. 2. One other will be put in Porter Twp. and one location
will be an existing tower on the east side of the county, he said.
“It will allow us
to communicate all across the state,” Good said. “This is the big baseline
foundation of moving forward.”
Burla said now is a
great time for Porter County to join up as the state is entering its third
and fourth phases of the system in the Northwest corner of the state and
other counties are putting in their groundwork.
“This is a big day
for us. We’re all excited. There has been a lot of legwork and we appreciate
all of you sitting here in this room,” Good said to the fire chiefs, EMS
workers and Sheriff’s Police sitting in the audience.
vote was welcomed with applause.
“It’s a lot of
money. Technology doesn’t sit still and wait for people to catch up,” Evans